The Penguins’ four trade deadline acquisitions continued to impress in Game 1 of the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They showcased a combination of skill and grit that is needed in springtime hockey, but their most impressive moment might have come with a little over two minutes left in the game and with the Penguins owning a commanding 5-0 lead.
Jussi Jokinen seemed to be clipped by Marty Reasoner, which sent Jokinen to the ice (Reasoner was assessed a five-minute major penalty for kneeing). The other four Penguins on the ice, two being Jarome Iginla and Douglas Murray, came to Jokinen’s defense, while Brenden Morrow established a physical presence throughout all three periods.
Each of the players showcased why the Pens’ trade deadline was so heralded. Here is an analysis of each player’s Game 1:
Iginla showed exactly why he was quite possibly the hottest commodity at this season’s trade deadline. The veteran winger was most impressive on the power play. He collected two assists, one on Pascal Dupuis’ backhand shot in the first and another on Kris Letang’s snap shot that gave the Pens a commanding 3-0 lead just over a minute into the second period. Iginla was a jack-of-all-trades, earning a plus-1 rating while firing two shots on net.
“That was of our game plan,” Iginla said, “to make sure that we’re skating, to make sure that we’re going north and south and not slowing the game down and I thought guys finished checks early, I thought we came out with a good intensity and a good determination and I thought it was nice to get on that power play early.”
Jokinen could end up being the most impressive of all of Ray Shero’s marquee deadline acquisitions. He exceeded expectations for the Penguins down the stretch by matching his production from his time in Carolina in just about one-third of the games. He carried that scoring pace into Game 1 as he also collected two assists, his first on Dupuis’ second goal of the game and his second on Tanner Glass’s snap shot that gave the Pens a 5-0 lead.
Nobody can deny Morrow’s physicality and grit. Both were showcased again Wednesday. He registered five hits, just one behind Tanner Glass for the team high, in 15:53 seconds of ice time. In such a lopsided game, Morrow refused to take his foot of the pedal in the waning minutes as he got in several confrontations with Islanders defenders as the clock ticked down.
“If we want to win, it’s going to be doing those smart little thing,” Morrow said. “The last couple weeks, since I’ve been here anyway, I’ve seen it quite a bit and it happened again tonight.”
Murray was brought to Pittsburgh to be a shutdown defensemen and fit that billing perfectly in Game 1. Murray also registered five hits while collecting one block. He was a stalwart on Pittsburgh’s penalty kill, helping to kill four New York power plays, which was a big proponent to Marc-Andre Fleury picking up the shutout. Murray and Iginla were two of the three Penguins, the other being Dupuis, assessed with a 10-minute misconduct penalty while defending Jokinen, a penalty that with a 5-0 lead exemplified the camaraderie Murray and the other new additions have embraced.